Uttarakhand lake ‘stable’ for now, under constant monitoring amid efforts to drain


The artificial lake that has been formed in the upper reaches of the Himalayas after the flash floods in Uttarakhand seems to be stable with no immediate danger for the lower reaches, unless a catastrophic event like a cloud burst occurs, according to the assessment of scientists who are monitoring the situation.

The artificial lake at Murendra, which has been visited and is regularly monitored by DRDO scientists, has been assessed so that it poses no immediate danger. Plans are underway to create a narrow channel for water to drain downstream in a controlled manner, officials said.

The plan is to have a controlled release of water as rescue work is still on at the Tapovan area and a sudden release could impact the teams downstream. Officials monitoring the situation said that water levels seem to be receding and once a clear assessment is made, additional measures can be taken to channel all the water out.

Constant monitoring of the lake is underway by both the ground teams and aerial reconaissance.

On Friday, the Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), SS Deswal, undertook an aerial recce of the lake formed in the higher reaches. Besides Raini, Deswal also visited Tapovan areas in Chamoli district affected by the flash floods.

He took stock of the rescue operations and went to the tunnel where search and rescue operations are currently underway. On Thursday, the ITBP along with DRDO scientists reached the confluence of Rishiganga and Raunthi Gad from the Muranda axis. The teams have been tasked with establishing base camps and select locations for the helipad.

Home ministry officials told ET that intercom communication has been established inside the tunnel while satellite communication is fully operational between the rescue site and the control room at Raini village for surveillance of the river water level.

The authorities have also installed an alarm and hooter system for early warning systems. According to the Chamoli police, the identities of 33 bodies and one body part have been established. DNA samples of unidentified bodies have been stored for matching. The DNA samples of 96 family members and 73 bodies have been sent to Dehradun FSL for a match.

On February 7, a glacier broke in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli district which led to massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and caused extensive damages.

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